The 'Mission Green Sabarimala' is an initiative to strictly enforce green protocol at the hill shrine and the premises. Implemented by the Suchitwa Mission, which is a local civic body and the state's nodal agency for sanitation.
Ayyappa pilgrims, take note of the ‘Green’ protocol at Sabarimala temple! With the annual ‘Ayyappa’ pilgrimage progressing in full swing at Sabarimala temple, the Kerala government is set to make it a ‘green’ affair this season. Curious to know how? According to reports, the state government is keen on doing away with plastic articles at Sabarimala and promoting eco-friendly products.
The increasing use of plastic carry bags has posed serious environmental concerns during the past seasons. One has to keep in mind that the hill shrine is located in a reserve forest in the Western Ghats.
The ‘Mission Green Sabarimala’ is an initiative to strictly enforce green protocol at the hill shrine and the premises. Implemented by the Suchitwa Mission, which is a local civic body and the state’s nodal agency for sanitation.
To start with, a 24X7 counter has opened at the Chengannur railway station, which is the closest one on the way to Sabarimala. At this counter, pilgrims can exchange their plastic articles and accept eco-friendly cloth bags in return. Authorities have made it clear that this will be free of cost for the Ayyappa pilgrims.
There will also be the distribution of postcards with messages to persuade people from not tossing their plastic articles or clothes in the Pampa river.
Given that most Ayyappa pilgrims come from neighbouring southern states, it is notable that the messages on these postcards have been shared in five languages, along with details of the rituals of the shrine.
Currently, the Sabarimala temple is witnessing a heavy rush of pilgrims. More than seven lakh pilgrims offered darshan at the hill shrine since it opened for the Mandala-Makaravilakku season.
For authorities, waste management around the shrine and its premises pose considerable challenges. Over the years, the problem of solid waste management and the increase in plastic items being thrown around are serious concerns for protecting the reserve area and the forest environment. For the pilgrims and their families, the two-month-long Mandala season is a much-awaited and sacred pilgrimage.